Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Jobs in the Tech Field that Interest Me

Here is a list of some jobs in the field of technology that interest me:

  1. Software Developer (Median salary = $90,060)
  2. Computer Systems Analyst - Computer systems analysts must understand computer hardware, software and networks and how they work together, so they can make recommendations to organizations for the best operations systems to use. (Median salary = $79,680)
  3. Game Designer (Median salary = $87,000)
  4. Biomedical Engineer (Median salary = $86,960)
  5. Information Security Analyst - These analysts are tasked with staying ahead of cyberattacks and keeping company data and systems secure. They focus on risk assessment, vulnerability assessment and defense planning to prevent company or government data from being breached. (Median salary = ($86,170)

Three New and Upcoming Pieces of Technology

1. Oculus Rift:
              The Rift is a virtual reality head-mounted display developed by Oculus VR. You wear it as if it is a bulky pair of goggles and inside of the display you are put into a 3D virtual reality world. The development of this piece of technology started in 2012 with a Kickstarter campaign for money for the research and the creation of the developer's kits that were sold for both companies and freelance developers to create games and worlds for users to play. The Rift will be sold publicly in the first quarter of 2016.

2. International DNA Network:
                In January of 2015, programmers in Toronto began testing a system for trading genetic information with other hospitals. The system, called MatchMaker Exchange, represents something new: a way to automate the comparison of DNA from sick people around the world. A global network of millions of genomes could be medicine’s next great advance. With the current advancement of technology, scientists can digitize genomes at a rate of 2 per hour (the first genome took 13 years). A genome is an organism's complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In humans, a copy of the entire genome—more than 3 billion DNA base pairs—is contained in all cells that have a nucleus. Any people with rare genetic disorders would have their genomes digitized and then uploaded to this DNA network in which scientists from around the world could compare their genome to any other uploaded ones. This could help lead scientists into figuring out where diseases are originated and how they are spread. This technology should be available in 1-2 years.

3. Nvidia Tegra X1:
                  Nvidia’s latest mobile superchip has 256 processor cores and eight CPU cores. Introduced at CES amid some grand claims – “more power than a supercomputer the size of a suburban family home from 15 years ago” – it’ll be making its way into products very soon. Any cellphones that feature this new chip will very likely be top of the market mobile devices until other companies catch up.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Driverless Cars

There has been a lot of talk recently about a potentially driverless future, a time to come in which all of our cars will be fitted with the highest-grade computer A.I. systems that will allow riders to relax in the back doing as they please while they are driven around by a robot. It may seem as if the only arguments against self-driving cars come from two kinds of people – those fearful of any scenario where they might have to forgo control behind the wheel and those who distrust all technology out of hand. Lolling about while a computer gets you through traffic has its attractions for many of us and there has been little discussion about the potential downsides of a driverless future. However, there are studies which have focused on discovering the potential flaws in this utopia.

The upsides to this system are pretty evident. The first advantage of driverless cars is one of multitasking. While being taken from here to there in a driverless car, you can do anything you want. Eat, sleep, work, chat with relatives – commute time is no longer down time. The second advantage to this system is safety. Not all humans are typically the best drivers, and so having all of the A.I. cars drive at the same level it would allow the developers to create a quite high level of safety. By leaving the driving to a whole slew of computers, sensors, servos and software, getting from home to office should be rendered accident free.

The dangers of these cars however include the fact that they can potentially act a lot like robots with having very strict go-and-stop procedures, creating a very tense looking rigidy way of driving. The second big danger is the fact that pedestrians, animals, busses, etc. exist and they will not always be picked up by sensors. It will be up to the user to override and make a life-or-death decision.

In the end, I like the idea of driverless cars however it will need to be worked on heavily.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Positive Effects of Technology on Society

With the proliferation of technologies that are able to overcome the obstacles of time and space (e.g., airplanes, cars, the Internet) happening at an exponential rate, society is seeing a major shift in the way that everyone acts. Although technology gets a lot of flak amongst older generations for corrupting our youth, there was a reason technology was made.  It was made to make our lives easier and more efficient. Many people, typically those of the older generation, think of technology as a threat to society. They say that society was fine before it and the major growth of it will lead to negative effects such as causing people to be distracted, overly stressed, and increasingly isolated. However, I believe that the growth of technology can lead to the growth of communication between people over both short and long distances and will have a net positive effect on modern day society. 

The main thing that I see technology having a major positive impact on is education. Modern-day students not only have computers to help them with their schoolwork, they also use the Internet for research while teachers use technology to enhance their lessons. Things such as research, distance learning, and in-class lessons are enhanced due to technology.

First of all, school libraries are typically outdated and having a computer at your fingertips fixes that. Students are able to use the Internet and digital encyclopedias to obtain the research they need. While students should be wary of the legitimacy of some of the content they read online, many schools use software like the Encyclopedia Britannica to help students do research.

Next, in the past, students could take distance or continuing education classes, also called "correspondence courses," at community colleges and universities. After enrolling in a course of this style, a student would receive course documents in the mail and would be required to mail assignments to his teacher at the educational institution. Now, with computers and high speed Internet, we can use websites such as CDLI to teach courses from across the province or even country.

Lastly, teachers are given materials such as their own computers and SMART-boards to help make tailor their lectures to students of their class. They can pull up a website in a flash and show the students what they need to learn. It makes it very easy for them to teach their lectures effectively.

In conclusion, I believe that technology has a great impact on society in relation to communications and most prominently, education. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Consumers vs Producers

Never before has the world seen this many pirates (at least since the 1600's, heheh). Har har har!!!! :-). With the quite recent invention of pirating/torrenting software and websites such as uTorrent, bitTorrent, ThePirateBay, and isoHunt, anyone with a computer and the ability to use Google can steal an artist's piece of work. Obviously both the creators of the torrents and the downloaders of them are in the wrong even though pretty much everybody uses or listens to pirated music.With the technology that we have today, it would be very hard to completely end this and that is probably why the government isn't cracking down on it (besides arrresting the founders of ThePirateBay). Most artists don't even make most of their money off of album sales, rather they make the largest portion of their wealth from touring. I feel as if pirating isn't going to come to an end anytime soon so artists should try to find another way to use their music to make money such as touring more.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Should teenagers go trick-or-treating?

With Halloween only around the corner, the age old question comes up in daily conversation between kids around the globe: "Are you going trick-or-treating this year?". And although the answer is almost always yes in people under the age of thirteen, the question becomes more and more disregarded as they move up in the years. Being sixteen years old, the question that I've been asking and that I've heard been asked more and more is: "Will we even be allowed to go trick-or-treating this year?". All across North America, adults have been starting to actually turn away teenagers that have just been trying to spend their October 31st evening going around door-to-door rather than going to the parties. They'd rather have fun by getting candy rather than getting drunk and I find that it's disgusting that people turn them away. I feel as if anyone under the age of 19, which in Canada is the legal age for adulthood, should be able to freely go trick-or-treating. I feel as if it is unfair and immature that some adults within the community would turn them away.

My thoughts on Bill C-44

                    Earlier this week, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (which is Canada's spy agency) had it's powers beefed up in a recent bill  tabled by Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney. Bill C-44, dubbed the protection of Canada from terrorists act, brings clarity to the CSIS act while protecting individual rights. CSIS now has the right to more powers of surveillance of Canadian citizens to investigate for terrorists attacks, this includes all-access to Canadian phone lines and private information. They are now also able to travel abroad and work within or outside of Canada and they are also expected to give "greater protection" to confidential sources without having to identify them in court proceedings, even to the judge.
                   I feel as if the government has passed this bill in an attempt to take terrorism towards Canada seriously and I respect them for doing so. I realize that people won't be searched unless it's necessary and therefore I don't understand why people get so uncomfortable about it. CSIS won't call your house to tell your mom that you didn't do your homework and that they know that because that's what you told your best friend when you called them after school. If you have nothing to hide, legally, then you should have nothing to worry about.